Windows 10 (Desktop Mode) Primer

It is coming; Just around the corner (July 29ish) Windows 10 will be released for public consumption. For a limited period of time it will be free to (legal copies of) Windows 7 and 8.1 users. You may have even already have had a little windows icon pop up on the taskbar (down by the clock) that if you click it; you are asked if want to reserve your copy of Windows 10. I have been running the Windows 10 (preview) on my Surface Pro 3 for quite some time now. The Preview program is cool in that Microsoft is taking feedback and making changes based on that feedback.

The Windows 10 Desktop

The desktop for Windows is similar to what we have become used to with Windows 8 and 7 with a few modifications and additions. Tablet mode is a whole other animal; I’ll touch on that in a separate post.

The image below points out some familiar features on the desktop and some that might be new to us.

  • Start

    A cross between the old XP menu and the Windows 8 start screen.

  • Cortana

    Where we search the computer or web, set reminders, see our day at a glance and much more.

  • Task View – Virtual Desktops

    Cycle through running apps and programs and/or create virtual desktops that you can run different apps on.

  • Action Center

    Notifications from the system and many other sources, depending how you are set up, are displayed here.

The Start (Windows) Button

In desktop mode the Start button is closer to what it was with Windows XP. Clicking Start opens a sizable fly out that has a column of our most used apps and programs, and a pane with our Live Tiles that we would see on the Start screen if we were in tablet mode.

Note: Project Spartan on the start menu. That is the code name for Microsoft Edge which is the new Internet Explorer replacement. IE is still there but Edge is a ground up build that is sleeker and better than IE.

Clicking on All Apps is much like clicking All Programs in Windows XP; The Most Used column changes to an alphabetical listing of everything installed on the computer. Clicking on Power lets us Restart or shut down the computer.


Cortana is your assistant.

Cortana has many features. The first icon on they menu (they are calling it the hamburger icon because of the three lines) will change the icons to Word so we know exactly what they are. After the hamburger icon we have: Home, Notebook, Reminders, Places, Music, Help, Settings and Feedback. Below I used Cortana to find the snipping tool on my Computer. Cortana rates a blog post of her own; I will touch on that later.

Task View (Virtual Desktops)

Task View is much like when we would use Windows Key + Tab to cycle through open programs. Open apps and programs are displayed on the Desktop. You can run apps and programs in different (virtual) desktops. You can create new virtual desktops. Select a desktop from the desktop bar and launch an app or program to run it in that desktop.

Action Center (Notifications)

Action center is a place we can get all our notifications as well as toggle services like blue Tooth and Wireless on or off. Notifications come from the system and any apps that we have notifications enabled. For example Facebook, Twitter, Xbox, Mail, Calendar, and News feeds are just a few of the many apps that can send notifications.

That is just glimpse at some of the new things you may run across initially with Windows 10. I’ll break it down so you can get the most of these services.


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